Central Los Angeles Area High School #9
High School #9, LAUSD's new flagship high school project with emphasis in the Visual and Performing Arts, is in direct vicinity of the downtown Los Angeles cultural corridor with Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
The tower, a unique and highly visible sculptural landmark, will provide a point of identification for the students, a symbol for the arts in the city and a sign for the positive development of the arts, education and our society. The tower also relates to the immediate context of downtown Los Angeles and the other cultural institutions within.
A spiral in form of a #9 which revolves around the tower completes the sculpture and is an expression of the dynamic development of our society.
The school is not a closed up institution but will create a new venue in town. The theater with full stage, back stage and fly loft and a seating capacity of 1,000 visitors will allow the students to learn all technical aspects of operating on a professional stage and will be open to the public for students or professional performances. A theater lobby expressed through a crystalline shape of glass and metal forms the public entrance to the theater, symbolically emphasizes the openness of the school to the public and simultaneously serves as an exhibition space which can be linked to the visual arts studios.
By breaking up the student body of 1,600 students into four so-called "Academies" each specializing in one of the arts courses offered next to the general education - visual arts, dance, music and theater arts - a closer and more personal environment between teachers and students is created.
Each academy occupies a distinct building which houses the art studios next to general classrooms, administration spaces and teachers workrooms. Within the school places of identification are created which will help students to find their own, personal identity, while simultaneously offering the possibility of communication with the other fields through shared spaces such as science labs, social space, play space and performance space.
The library is deliberately placed in the center of the school courtyard and rises as a truncated, asymmetrical cone with an oculus towards the sky. Through its central location and dynamic but centralized form this "Space of Knowledge" collects and enhances the energies which revolve in and around it and reminds us that the focus of the efforts of education is to enrich the knowledge of our present and future society in search for new solutions.
The future society will be a society of knowledge. Schools, especially public schools, and communities are organized structures which our society provides to pass on the knowledge of our time, and a lot of responsibility lies on them to equip the future generations with the right kinds of education and skills in order for them to function within this future society.
We believe that the knowledge of the future will not be found within closed disciplines any more but rather at the intersection points between different fields of knowledge, such as the sciences, arts, economics and ethics. Timely education for the future therefore has to offer possibilities of crossings between different fields of knowledge. This is where High School #9 positions itself as a new flagship high school which includes the arts in public education and offers courses in the visual and performing arts next to the general education of language, mathematics, sciences and history.
Likewise, schools for the future also cannot remain closed prisons for learning any more but have to offer a place for exchange between the students, other institutions and the public which provides access to the complex knowledge of our time to teachers, students and the public alike.
In this network of exchange architecture must provide a forum for this exchange to happen and points of identification which position the school within the city and society, allow the students to identify with and communicate the school's content to the outside.
Facts about Central Los Angeles Area High School #9
9.8 ha/39.578 m2
Floor area: 230,000 ft2/21.204 m2
LAUSD District 4
Wolf D. Prix
Helmut Swiczinsky + Wolfdieter Dreibholz
Karolin Schmidbaur, Dionicio Valdez
Project architect CA:
Bo Stjerne Hansen
Christoph A. Kumpusch
PCL Construction Services, Inc.
Taylor and Gaines
Roshanian and Associates
Martin Newson & Associates LLC.
JK Design Group
Mace Murphy Design Group
Rowley International, Inc.
A. C. Martin Partners
Melendrez Design Partners, Los Angeles
Los Angeles Unified School District
Photographed by John Edward Linden
Last updated: November 23, 2012